This is a LONG post, but please read all the way through for the latest news and NEW DIOCESAN DIRECTIVES
PUBLIC HOURS – Churches may continue to remain open for LIMITED hours, but the number of visitors must NOT exceed 10. The elderly and those especially vulnerable should refrain from visiting at this time and encouraged to pray from home.
As such, as pastor, Fr. Ozug has decided that Saint Anthony’s Church will be open for prayer on Monday through Saturday 9 AM – 4 PM; and Sundays 11 AM – 4 PM. and only the parking lot door will be open at these times.
HOLY COMMUNION – No distribution of Holy Communion is to take place at this time, except for Viaticum.
RECONCILIATION – All Lenten Penance Services and regularly scheduled confession times are suspended. Priests may offer this Sacrament only in danger of death, or by appointment in extraordinary situations. There are no confessions allowed by telephone or by other electronic means.
BAPTISMS & WEDDINGS – Families are strongly encouraged to postpone these celebrations. If they are to be celebrated, only the immediate family should attend, not to exceed 10 persons in the church. Weddings are to take place without the celebration of the Mass.
FUNERALS – Funeral Masses are not to be permitted to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus. Funerals may take place only in the form of “The Rite of Committal with Final Commendation” (aka “Graveside Service”) at the cemetery, to be celebrated outdoors, and only the immediate family should attend. A Memorial Mass should be scheduled at a later date, when the restrictions for public gatherings have been lifted.
PALM SUNDAY – Public celebrations may not take place. Once they are blessed, the blessed palm branches will be made available for parishioners in the church foyer at Saint Anthony’s only (with no more than 10 people in the church foyer at a time) between the hours 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
LENTEN ABSTINENCE – Anyone having difficulty obtaining alternatives for sustenance during this crisis is dispensed from the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays (with the exception of Good Friday). Fridays of Lent remain days of penance and prayer, and those dispensed from abstinence should be encouraged to practice some other form of denial in its place.
HOLY WEEK – Services will be livestreamed live on our Facebook page from Saint Anthony’s Church. Further information as will be forthcoming
RESCHEDULING OF EVENTS – As of now, with the uncertainty of what the future looks like, it would be unwise at this time to reschedule any events that have been or will be postponed. Thus, as of now, I do not know the dates for First Communion. A decision regarding Confirmation will be looked at, as the scheduled date of May 18 approaches (remember this is scheduled through the Bishop’s Office).
This is a VERY challenging time for all of us. Given the seriousness of this coronavirus pandemic, the Bishop had no choice but to make the difficult decisions that he did. Let us continue to pray for one another and pray for all those affected by this virus.